Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #7

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's choice is:


Innocent Darkness, by Suzanne Lazear
Publication date: August 8th 2012, by Flux


Wish. Love. Desire. Live.

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.












I absolutely adore this cover, and the synopsis sounds pretty promising as well. That said, I can't wait for this book to come out. What about you, what are you waiting for this week? XD

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Probability of Miracles, by Wendy Wunder




Release date: December 8th 2011
Published by: Razorbill
Genre: Contemporary (YA)
Rating: 5/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon











Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.


My thoughts:

The Probability of Miracles is one of those novels that makes you feel so much while reading it, that makes you stop and change your perspective of life in so many ways. It's impossible not to be drawn by its premise: A dying girl who moves to a new town that's known by its miracles, and falls in love. It wasn't just the synopsis that caught my eye, however; it was the cover, the reviews, and the readers that cried their hearts out with Mrs. Wunder's story. Who doesn't want to feel emotional enough to cry over a book?

Cam Cooper was just the kind of girl I had expected. It's not that she didn't want to live... she just accepted that death is imminent, and that it's pointless to spend the rest of her life searching for an answer - a miracle - that doesn't exist. Her sarcastic personality seemed shallow at first, at least to me, but as I got to know her better, it became obvious how much she was suffering. Instead of whining and acting like a child, she hid behind sarcasm, which was fine by me, since her thick wall of indifference starts to crumble when she meets Asher. 

Ah, Asher, Asher... He was the responsible for my tears. Wendy Wunder created such a real, solid character in him. I could relate Asher to anyone in my life. It's nice to see a boy with a believable appearance, personality, actions, instead of someone stoic, mysterious, and sexy. Asher and Cam's story is full of angst, regret, pain... but it's also full of love. Their issues made me want to hug them at all times. And even when things were going downhill, they dealt with whatever came at them with their hearts, which was another positive point for me.

I always try to read a contemporary novel between heavier genres, like fantasy or historical fiction, to stay in touch with realistic stories that deals with the same kind of things we have to deal with in a current basis, like cancer. And though I knew how this book was going to end, it didn't left me in tears... it left me sobbing. I actually didn't expect it to mess up with me so much, but it did. 

The Probability of Miracles is not only a novel about cancer. It's about finding your first love, enjoying every moment you have, loving your family, and most of all, it's about learning peace, even when you're carrying a burden as heavy as a disease. This is one of the most beautiful novels I've ever read, and I admire Wendy Wunder for creating such a touching story. If you haven't read this book yet, do it. It has the potential to change you.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In My Mailbox #7


In my mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi, at The Story Siren, in which we share the books that we got this week.



- Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.



The Probability of Miracles, by Wendy Wunder
A Temptation of Angels, by Michelle Zink
Balthazar, by Claudia Gray



 The Hobbit (Graphic Novel), by David Wenzel
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern


I finished reading The Probability of Miracles a few days ago, and it's one of my favorite books, hands down. A Temptation of Angels looks promising, and I can't wait to read it ;D After hearing so many good things about Balthazar (both the book and the character) I finally decided to read it at my own risk. I never actually loved him in the Evernight series, but maybe this book will change my mind. Who knows!
Although it was very expensive, I had to buy The Hobbit. Especially after seeing how Gollum was portrayed. 35 dollars in a graphic novel is an absurd, but when it comes to Tolkien, I'm willing to go through this sacrifice with much gusto, XD
The Night Circus is another book I've heard a lot about, and it reminded me of Water for Elephants. The romance sounds pretty sweet, though, and I'm looking forward to it ^-^

What did you get in your IMM?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games movie review


It's here. The Hunger Games movie is officially out, after months of waiting, of trailers, new stills, rumors... And it's a phenomenon already.

I decided to write a movie review on it, because honestly, after watching it last night, it's like my chest is about to explode with the excitement. And I need to put my feelings out. So what better to do it than writing it down, right?

The movie was way more than I thought it would be. The districts (especially District 12) was just like I imagined. Jennifer Lawrence, and Josh Hutcherson, were perfect as Katniss and Peeta. They had an incredible chemistry, and some scenes, (ahem, the cave scene) were a treat of their own because of the actors.

Jennifer Lawrence managed to keep to herself without looking like a Mary Sue. Katniss was quiet, thoughtful, and still fierce as hell. Jennifer balanced those two sides of her personality fairly well. (And she has facial expression! Amen!)

Josh... Ah, no comments. I loved him as Peeta, that's all I'll say. His hair at the beginning of the movie, though, was weird. Too blond. (If that makes sense).

Some things bothered me a little, like the action scenes. The camera shook so much at some points that I had a hard time focusing on who was hitting who and what was going on. However, I think the directors wanted us to feel the scene like Katniss did. Which makes sense, but is confusing when you're watching the movie.

Cesar's comments about the Games were entertaining. Since in the books we don't get to know what was going on in the Districts while Katniss is in the arena, these comments and flashes were welcomed. 

My favorite part, I have to admit, is the cave scene. Ironically, that's my favorite part of the book as well, but come on... Katniss and Peeta's first kiss is fantastic. (And the whole theatre yelled and cheered yesterday, when they kissed, which was pretty cool).

I'm going to make this review very brief. Overall, I loved the movie, the subtle changes they made, the actors, the special effects... it was very realistic and loyal to the books.

What about you, how do you feel about the Hunger Games movie? Did you like it, love it, hate it? What are your favorite parts?
Catching Fire will only come out in November/2013. Yes, 2013. We have a long waiting in front of us!

Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers


- His Fair Assassin #1
Release Date: April 3rd 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Historical Fiction (YA)
Rating: 5 stars
Links: Goodreads, Amazon
Source: Netgalley











Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?


My thoughts:

Having heard only good things about Grave Mercy, I had high expectations for this book. I can say right now that Robin LaFevers delivered me a fantastic story, way better than I had imagined. Sure, assassin nuns and a medieval setting sounds pretty interesting, but only in theory. When reading a book like this, it's hard for me to really commit myself to the characters. However, I found it was impossible to let go of the book for more than a few hours.

Ismae was part of the reason the story sucked me in. She was abused by her father her whole life, and harassed by the rest of the village she lived into, until her marriage. From that point on, her life went straight to hell. Her husband, after finding the God of Death's blessing on her, almost led Ismae to her grave. It was only with the help of the convent that she managed to have some peace, and the resemblance of a... normal life.

Trained to be the handmaiden to Mortain, Ismae learned to kill a man faster than one can blink, and when the intrigues of the Court threatens to overtake her country, Ismae is forced to pass as Gavriel Duval's mistress. Life among the nobles is not as simple as it may sounds, especially when she starts to fall for Gavriel. Their relationship was one of the most adorable things in Grave Mercy. It develops so slowly it's impossible not to yearn for more. Even then, Robin LaFevers made it believable and natural. Gavriel's personality fit in with Ismae's just right. His noble attitude walked alongside her duties and beliefs, and I appreciated that. Though they weren't fond of each other when they first met, there was always mutual respect in every conversation.

Apart from the romance, Ismae herself was charming. Her devotion to Mortain was certain and as solid as ever, not even once doubting of His strenght. Her faith on the Convent, however, was a little too blinding. It's okay to believe fully in a God who saved your life before you were even born, and blesses you constantly with his Marques, but a Convent run by nuns who gives you no explanation of their abilities? Well, Ismae believed too much in them.

Robin LaFever's writing was a treat to me. This, to be honest, is my favorite aspect of historical books. I love this type of writing, and setting. Observing the changes that English has gone through is fascinating to me, and even when the pace had slowed down, my attention never wavered from the pages. The flaws were minor, and they didn't bother me at all as I as reading. Overall, an enchanting medieval story. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #6

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's choice is:
 

Pushing The Limits, by Katie McGarry
Publication date: July 31st 2012, by Harlequin Teen
Links: Goodreads, Amazon

SO WRONG FOR EACH OTHER...AND YET SO RIGHT.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.




Aside from the fact the magnificent cover, the synopsis sounds just like a contemporary novel I would love. And Simone Elkeles's blurb just makes me that more anxious to get my hands on this book. Also, it comes out on my birthday. That's got to be a sign! LOL XD
What are you waiting for this week?

Perfect You, by Elizabeth Scott



Release date: September 21st 2010
Published by: Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary (YA)
Rating: 3/5 stars

-- Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon











Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast.

Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible.

And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.

Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen -- but only if she lets them...


My thoughts:

After Anna and the French Kiss, let's just say I spent a couple of months looking for a good contemporary novel. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was a complete disappointment, so I went straight to one of the most famous authors of this genre: Elizabeth Scott. I now know why she's this famous. Perfect You had an interesting premise: Girl who's a nobody at school, ignored by her best friend, harassed by family issues, and constantly wondering if the boy actually likes her, or is only trying to add her to his ranks.

 Pretty cliché, right? I thought so, too. But Elizabeth Scott involves not only teenager's problems, but realistic family issues, which only makes the story solid. Kate's father quit, and decided to sell Perfect You vitamins. However, pursuing a dream is hard when you have a family to support, and bills to pay. Kate's family getting poorer and poorer while Steve turned his back on reality and focused on video games and vitamins was tough even for me to read. I felt bad for Kate and her mother and brother.

 However, as much as Kate's situation was complicated and acceptable, her frequent whining was not. I couldn't understand her half the time, to be honest. If your family is out of money, and working with your father is not making things any better, why not look for another job, one that would actually provide some money? But no, all that Kate did was cry and complain like a child about the lack of freedom and happiness and go after Anna like a dog. 

Yes, I said it. Kate acted like a dog around Anna. If your best friend forgets about you, makes fun of you behind your back with people you hate, and doesn't look at you not even once... well, it's bye-bye for her, honey. I understand that Anna's friendship was very important to Kate, but really, some self-esteem is in order these days. Anna didn't want to be Kate's friend, she just wanted someone who supported her above all else, and would always be there for her. Like, you know, a dog. Or, in this case, Kate.

The romance was pretty cute, I admit that. However, it would've been perfect if Kate hadn't acted like she was so superior around Will. She didn't even let him finish a sentence - literally - and always thought the worst of him, even before he began to speak. It bothered me immeasurably how Will always respected Kate's wishes and treated her right, but Kate crushed him under her shoe whenever possible. It's wasn't a balanced romance, with mutual respect and acceptance. That's the only bad aspect of it. 

The writing was great, though, and I liked how some things were left unresolved at the end. I would've loved to see more of Kate and Will's relationship, since their last conversation didn't really give me much of a closure. Despite the narration on the last chapter resuming how it all went after that, I still thought it was left incomplete, somehow. Good plot, good ending, non-remarkable characters, and an enjoyable romance. I say if you're looking for a quick contemporary read, go for it. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tell me something tuesday #4



Tell me something Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Cambria Hebert, in which she asks us something, and we post our answer. And the question of the week is:

 Who is your favorite heroine in a book? (Okay you can name more than one)


A very interesting question, one I love to answer everytime I'm asked that. It's very simple, and yet, complicated as hell. I have so many favorite heroines that I can't possibly name them all. So, let's get started. 


Rose Hathaway, from Vampire Academy (by Richelle Mead)


I bet a lot of people thought about her as soon as they read the question. Rose is the kind of girl who's strong, sarcastic, sweet and loyal. She protects who she loves with everything she's got, but when things go downhill... well, let's just say she also does whatever is necessary.
I respected her from the moment she ran away from the Academy with Lissa. What really made me love her, however, was the situation she had to go through in Blood Promise and Spirit Bound. Only a true heroine can survive something like that without completely breaking.









Cat Crawfield, from Night Huntress (by Jeaniene Frost)



Another heroine I'm quite fond of is Cat. I recently mentioned that I'd like to travel to this book's world, just to know Cat and be her friend. Imagine someone badass and capable of doing a lot of damage, but still human enough to apreciate life (even though she's half dead o.O). That's Cat. I love how tough she was with Bones when they first met, how she never gives up. Her willingness to put herself in the path of danger to save someone innocent is remarkable. The series is already on book six, and Cat still manages to surprise me a lot of times, which is amazing.









Gin Blanco, from Elemental Assassin (by Jennifer Estep)



An assassin who kills mercilessly and protects fiercely. That's Gin Blanco. She's someone I admire immensely with every challenge that's thrown at her way. Estep is the kind of writer who is not afraid to hurt her characters, if it will make them stronger. And oh, Gin is so strong. She has to go through some serious situations. Being burned to the bones, bitten, tortured, electrocuted... those are just samples. And each time, she rises again and kicks ass. That's why I love her. Besides that, Gin is so human. She loves her family, and would do anything to help them. It's heart-warming.









So, these are my favorite heroines. Aside from those, there's also Merit, from the Chicagoland Vampire series, which I absolutely love. I don't want this answer to be so huge, so I just talked about those three ;D
What about you, what are your favorite heroines?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox #6


In my mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi, at The Story Siren, in which we share the books that we got this week.



- Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.






Perfect You, by Elizabeth Scott
Falling Fast, by Sophie McKenzie
The One That I Want, by Jennifer Echols




Katana, by Cole Gibson
Switched, by Amanda Hocking
The Gathering Storm, by Robin Bridges


Freebies


Jenny Pox, by J.L. Bryan
Coexist, by Julia Crane
Betrayal, by Mayandree Michel


I can't wait to read all of these, especially Coexist (ELVES!). I first saw this in Realm of Fiction, and now, I couldn't be more glad XD 
I've never read Jennifer Echols' books. Are they good? '-' The cover is cute, though, so I hope the story will live up to it.
What about you, what did you get this week?

Ps: This amount of books is Amazon's fault. They shouldn't tempt us so much. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Gathering Storm, by Robin Bridges



- The Katerina Trilogy #1
Release date: January 10th 2012
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Historical Fiction (YA)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Links: Goodreads, Amazon











St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?


My thoughts:

I honestly couldn't believe The Gathering Storm was a debut. Robin Bridges writes so wonderfully it's impossible not to wonder, how could this be her first novel? But yes, it is, and this fact only makes me respect Mrs. Bridges that much more. I began reading her book with hesitant eyes and a critical mind, ready to identify a mistake or plot hole. I found none.

It's impossible to write here everything that pleased me in this book. The setting was adorable. I love Russian stories, especially about the Romanovs, and the narration was fantastic. The description of the ball rooms, silk dresses, polite conversations and royal dramas were dutifully detailed, which only heightened my imagination. Although not much action takes place in the first chapters, Katerina's life was so full of social meetings and etiquette that I felt comfortable with, not once drifting off. The intrigues between the Duchesses, Dukes, Princes, Queens and Kings from all over Europe were as entertaining as a fight scene.

Katerina slowly unravels the mystery surrounding her power - or curse, as she calls it many times - taking the readers along the journey. Katiya doesn't understand why Prince Danilo, Prince of Montenegro, has suddenly noticed her and seems to be so interested in marrying her. On the other hand, Katerina feels curiously drawn to Grand Duke George as well, even though he doesn't reciprocate her feelings. At the beginning, I was afraid of a love triangle blossoming, but this is not the case. Danilo's ambitions sickened me sometimes, and I hated him more than I could ever express on words, really.

Again, it's impossible not to be impressed by this debut. It doesn't have harsh flaws, only slight aspects of the story that bugged me at certain times, like Katerina's mother's constant illness. I hope women at that time weren't so delicate as to retire to bed if a vase was broken. Also, the romance disappointed me in the end. It developed slowly and rightfully as the story progressed, and then, at the very last chapter, it all went to hell. The relationship between Katerina and George went to a totally different level. Odd.

The writing and background were solid, consistent, leading to a fiction book that felt like non-fiction. It was  well researched, and culturally right. I had no problem at all picturing the balls and dances on my mind. I wish Katerina's gift was explored more deeply, but since this is the first installment in the trilogy, I'm certain this issue will play out just fine in The Unfailing Light.  I chose not to reveal anything about the plot; It's much more interesting to read the book and be surprised by it. Trust me.

With a fascinating setting and characters, The Gathering Storm was a very quick and delightful read. Despite the rushed ending, I loved the book. So many things happened to Katerina, and I can't wait to get more of her and the Russian society. Robin Bridges surprised me in a very good way.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quick Review: Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors, by Mollie Harper



- Jane Jameson #4
Release date: February 28th 2012
Published by: Pocket
Rating: 4/5 stars
Links: Goodreads, Amazon












If you haven't read this series yet, you should. You have no idea what you're missing. Molly Harper's writing style and characters captivated me since book one, and after almost two years, I still enjoy myself while reading her books. Nice Girls Don't Bite their Neighbors is no exception. Jane has grown so much, changed so much throughout the series, and yet, she continues to be the same hilarious, crazy librarian we met so many adventures ago.

This time, Jane is marrying Gabriel, but of course, trouble is following them very closely. Being able to get married in an old fashioned way may not possible after all if they don't find out who wants to kill Gabriel and use Jane as a message. I loved Gabriel even more in this book. His protective nature was always charming, but now, he's doing everything he can to be with Jane forever. This couple works fantastically while investigating, and, as always, secondary characters like Dick and Jolene are just as entertaining as Jane.

Molly Harper delivered us yet another great addition to this series. In a way, I'm sad that it's almost over. At the same time, however, I'm happy about the way things played out in the end. It was a worthy ending to a series I loved so much. Ah, well. I'll miss Jane, Gabriel and the gang, but I'll still have the short stories. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Perception, by Kim Harrington



- The second book in the Clarity series
Release date: March 1st 2012
Published by: Scholastic Point
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
Links: Goodreads, Amazon











When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.


My thoughts:

There are some novels that you can't forget. That are memorable and unforgettable, with characters so well constructed and complex that they seem real. Clarity, unfortunately, was not one of those novels. Perception was. The first book in the series (series, trilogy? I'm not sure) was enjoyable and fun, but not especial at all. I could see why Clare made her decisions that way, but I didn't feel connected to it. The love triangle was shallow and not at all likable. Since the first book didn't attract me as much as I had hoped it would, there was no hope for the second book, right?

Wrong. What bothered me in Clarity was dealt with in Perception. Clare evolved and matured, and she actually became a main character I could relate to. Her determination to find her stalker and the reason the girl went missing was great. Her tracking skills weren't good, but her resolve to discover something useful worked perfectly in the story. 

Perry, however, took Clare's place as the most one dimensional character ever. Yes, he had his issues, and yes, I understood them, but seriously, his behavior irritated me most of the time. It was like he cared about Clare and her gift, but not enough to break through his problems. Clare's social enemies were annoying as hell, too. Kim Harrington can write some pretty clichéd characters. Blond cheerleader with a brain as small as a peanut, bitchy body language and bully tendencies? Check. Why are they always like this. 

The love triangle did evolve, and I actually picked a side this time. Both Justin and Gabriel were remarkable guys to Clare, but I couldn't help but love Gabriel much more than Justin. I can't forgive Justin for what he did to Clare in Clarity, and his childish behavior did nothing in his favor. And Clare didn't act slutty towards them, which was wonderful. I hate when the girl ends up making out with both guys and not deciding anything. So, the romance pleased me a lot.

Overall, the plot was great, although a little predictable. Even then, I loved most of this book, including Clare's development as a character and the romance solidification at the end. This book just came out, but I can't wait to read its sequel. I can only it won't take too long to come out. If you want a refreshing read with a bit of paranormal, this is the right book for you.

Waiting on Wednesday #5

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's choice is:



The Unfailing Light, by Robin Bridges 
(The Katerina Trilogy Vol. II)
Publication date: October 9th 2012
Publisher: Random House
Add it on Goodreads

 Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She's about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia's arch nemesis--who she thought she'd destroyed--is still alive. So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She'll be safe there, because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains. But to Katerina's horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.





I loved The Gathering Storm, and I cannot wait to read its sequel. The cover is magnificent, just like the previous book, but the model's waist is insanely thin, and it kind of bothers me. Pity it's going to be released just in October... it's so far D: 
What about you? Which book are you expecting?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In my mailbox #5


In my mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi, at The Story Siren, in which we share the books that we got this week.



- Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.





Ebooks:

 
The Gathering, by Kelley Armstrong
Remembrance, by Michelle Madow

From Netgalley:


Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers 

I've heard a lot of good things about these three books, especially Grave Mercy, and I can't wait to read them all ;D 
What about you, what goodies did you get this week?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi



Release date: January 3rd 2012
Published by: Harper Collins
Genre: Dystopia (YA)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon












Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.


 My thoughts:

Dystopia is well known these days. After The Trilogy (a.k.a. The Hunger Games), the amount of dystopian books multiplied like crazy. For me, this is a very complicated genre to work with - and read about. I love futuristic books, but only if the future in question is explained and can actually happen, if I can relate to it somehow. There is also that kind of dystopia that makes no sense whatsoever, and it leaves us wondering what the hell happened to the world to come to this point. Under the Never Sky, unfortunately, was more of the latter.  

This was my biggest problem with the book. The lack of answers was disconcerting. I couldn't connect with Aria and her world because none of it made sense to me at all. What is the Aether? Aria and Perry talk about it a hundred times, but still, I felt like an outsider - without a capital O. What was the Unity, what happened to Earth? Were is the rest of the population? More than 3 billion people didn't just evaporate, or died overnight. Where are they?

Aside from this plot hole (that bothered me a lot, but still, I tried to get over it), the characters were fine. That's exactly how I'm going to put it. They're fine, and that's it. I didn't love Aria, or Perry, but I was okay with their personalities, their actions, the way they looked out for each other. I saw where the romance was headed, and I enjoyed it. It's better than hating it all, I suppose... I just didn't fall head over heels for Perry or Aria, which felt right to me.

However, as much as the characterization worked, a particular aspect of Perry's abilities left me hanging. You see, Perry can smell pretty much everything - the leaves, people, trees... even from a mile away. I know I'm probably babbling, but this had me laughing for five minutes (not kidding). Perry smelled Aria's menstruation, and according to him, it was just like violets. Aside from the WTH thought that passed through my head, Aria smells like violets pretty much the whole book. They spend, let's say, weeks walking in the jungle, and then a couple of days with an old friend, then another week walking and looking for answers... and she's still bleeding? Either her period is completely different from a normal human being, or Veronica Rossi missed this detail, and it turned into an enormous plot hole. Aria's period lasted two months? Awkward. 

The plot was greatly planned. It surprised more than once, and I found myself incapacitated to let go of the book. Rossi's writing style is full of details, but it fit the story perfectly. A simpler writing would let out some aspects of the narration that were essential, and a more complicated writing would be too massive to read. So, thumbs up. 

Since I didn't connect with the characters too much, the ending left me hanging, but not dying to read Through the Ever Night. I'm looking forward to it, sure, but I'm not squealing like a fan girl. Under the Never Sky was a slight disappointment. It had everything I thought it would've had, but there was a spark missing, a certain emptiness that does not let me give it 5 stars. Still, it's a very good book. I understand now why a lot of people loved it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

By a Thread, by Jennifer Estep



Release date: February 28th 2012
Published by: Pocket
Genre: Urban-fantasy
Rating:  5/5 stars

Warning: This review will contain spoilers of previous books in the series.











When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.

Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun.

But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.


My thoughts

It's no secret how much I love this series. You know that kind of setting that immediately draws you in, a main character that's simply fantastic, and non-stop action scenes? Yeah, that's what Elemental Assassin means to me. Through each book, we came to know a bit more of Gin Blanco, the Deveraux sisters, Finn, and the other characters. Since Jennifer Estep just sold 3 more books, I was hesitant to read By a Thread. I was afraid it would be like Anita Blake. Thank God it was nothing of the sort.

After killing Mab, Gin finally tries to find some piece. But even with her arch-enemy dead, things haven't gotten easier for Gin. Everyone wants to get a taste of what the Spider is capable of, and fights and duels in the back of the Pork Pit's a common thing now. When Finn suggests a vacation, Gin takes the opportunity. But, just like the synopsis said, when you deal with blood in a daily basis, even a week off town can't keep you out of trouble.

Bria's friend is being harassed by Dekes, a vampire, constantly. He's basically Mab Monroe with a suit and fangs, so Gin offers her services to deal with him. With her friends' help, Gin finds out Mab wasn't the hardest target she'd ever face. Dekes is more powerful than the Spider ever imagined. Since book 2, I was always afraid of Mab. The woman was Devil on Earth. She was evil and twisted, but Dekes is no better. Seriously, Jennifer Estep has a way with villains. Dekes freaked me out.

I don't even need to say how heart-racing the action scenes were. Just like in the previous books, Gin's not afraid to get dirty and do whatever is necessary to survive. She's such a strong character. I've never seen anyone like her, and that's saying a lot. Gin's reputation as the Spider is not a joke, if she has to cut a guy's throat or decapitate him, so be it. She gets the job done at all costs, but even then, she doesn't lose her humanity. She's an assassin, but that doesn't mean she isn't human.

However, as much as I love Gin's soft side, I was bothered by her selflessness when it came to Bria. Fine, she's your sister, you'll always love her. I get that, I have a sister myself... but it was wrong for Gin to accept whatever Bria told her. There was a certain scene in which Bria was ashamed of Gin, because she was an assassin. Gin just bowed her head and acknowledged the pain without confronting Bria. This bothered me immeasurably. It's not okay to be ashamed of your sister, or blame her because you were tortured by Mab. She almost died trying to save Bria's life, and yet, the detective just continued to throw evil stares at Gin. Ungrateful much?

This brings me to my next point: Owen. He cares so much about Gin, loves her so much, that the fact that she's an assassin doesn't concern him. He accepts her, bloody parts and all, which is one of the best aspects of the series. Their relationship is heart-warming. Owen would do anything to protect Gin, but if she's about to fight nine guys and tell him "Go, I'll meet you outside", he goes. He trusts her to make her own decisions. I love that about him. No, risk that. I love everything about him. I was so glad Owen was there for Gin when Donovan came back into her life. Compared to Owen, Donovan is trash. He's a hypocrite, selfish, and know-it-all. Also, the way Jennifer Estep resolved the "unfinished business" between Gin and Donovan was freaking awesome. That's all I'll say.

By a Thread is the perfect sequel to Spider's Revenge. There's so much going on, and that still need to be dealt with, and I can't wait to read Widow's Web. August can't get here fast enough. If you haven't read the series yet, or never heard of it, please do. You have no idea of what you're missing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays #3




Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:




  •  Grab your current read; 
  • Open to a random page;
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page;
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!);
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser is from By a Thread, by Jennifer Estep (the sixth book in the Elemental Assassin series). I finished reading it a couple of hours ago, but since I'm not currently reading anything, I thought I'd share this quote ;D It's one of my favorites.

 
By a Thread (Elemental Assassin, #6) 

"You forgot one thing. [...] No matter how powerful you think you are, there’s not a fucking thing you can do about a knife in your heart,” I said. “Especially when the Spider is the one who put it there.” 
- Chapter 24


 And that's why I consider Gin the best main character there is. She's scary, ruthless, badass, and still manages to be human and caring. I love her for it <3 







Tell me something tuesday #3


Tell me something Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Cambria Hebert, in which she asks us something, and we post our answer. And the question of the week is:

Do you usually like the book better than the movie or the movie better than the book? What is your favorite book to movie adaptation you have ever seen?


I won't deny it: movies do not appeal to me as much as books do. In the movies, we're watching the characters struggle through something, emotions flickering across the actors' faces, but yet, we don't get to know them. In the books, the narration makes it possible for us to experience their emotions, see what they're thinking, their hopes, their guesses. It feels much more real than a movie ever could. However, I love watching a movie adaptation of a book I've read (if it's well done). 

Taking Percy Jackson, for example. I watched the movie first, and I loved it so much I had to buy and read the whole series. And now I can't watch Percy Jackson without hating it, because they altered so many things from the book that it doesn't look the same story. It's like the background is the same, the characters' name are the same, but the plot is different, the essence of the movie is different, the villain is different (where the hell is Chronos in the movie? Baking some cookies in the Underworld? He's not even mentioned)... They totally ruined the book D: 

 
On the other hand, I absolutely detest The Vampire Diaries books, and I love the series. L.J Smith wanted to create so many twists that it was bizarre. Elena's like a shapeshifter, seriously. She's a happy cheerleader, then she's an emo vampire, then she's a moody ghost, a human with angelic powers and a pure soul, then she's ol' Elena again... I mean, it's ridiculous! Not that I love Elena Dobrev in the series, but she's fine. She manages to look both vulnerable and strong most times, and I like that in her acting. 





 
My favorite book to movie adaptation? I have to say The Lord of the Rings. After reading the book - it was quite recently, actually - I watched the move all over again. It's fantastic! The lines are identical, Tolkien's writing is full of details that made me picture the scene in the movie just like it was portrayed. Tolkien's a genius. If the second and third movies are as faithful to his original work as the first one, I ought to like the books. No, I ought to love it. I'm particularly excited to see more of Legolas. He's my favorite character, but not much is said about him in the movies. 

So, to sum it all up pretty fast, I think it depends on the book/movie, how good the author's writing and plot is, and if in the movie, it's better to fall in line or make up your own story. Overall, though, I prefer books. Like I said in the beginning, there's nothing better than knowing a character with your heart. What about you? Do you like the movie, or the book better?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Born Wicked, by Jessica Spotswood



Release date: February 7th 2012
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Historical Fiction (YA)
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon




      








Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate stars scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood -- not even from each other.

My thoughts:

Born Wicked was everything I thought it would be, and more. I haven't read much about witches, save the brief encounter with Heinrich Kramer in One Grave at a Time, where Bones and Cat send his ghost back to its grave. Since then, I've felt incredible curious about them; how it must have been, living in the shadows,  as Inquisitors searched for them?

Jessica Spotswood provided me answers, and I was mostly satisfied with them. Our protagonist is Cate Cahill, the oldest of three motherless sisters. Since her mother's death, Cate's been carrying a burden much too heavy for a girl of her age: They're all witches, she and her sisters. The thing is, the witches have fallen long ago, and now the Brotherhood rules Chatam, and Cate has to pass as a normal citizen in order to live. Her family is wealthy, her dad - though absent most of the time - is respected, and her best friend, Paul, is about to propose to her. It's the perfect hiding place. 

Cate, though, doesn't expect to find her mother's diary, which speaks of an old prophecy conceiving the idea of a trio of sisters, powerful enough to allow the witches to rule once again. And so the ride is on. Can Cate figure out if she's the one the prophecy is talking about before she has to declare her intentions? 

I enjoyed Cate's point of view, and herself as a character, but she was so scared of the Brothers finding out her secret that the narration was rather tiring at some points. Her doubts, insecurities, and impulses are great at the beginning of the book, but it gets old. Her concern for Maura and Tess was understandable, of course, but still, I'd like to see more of Cate as a free girl, like the one she turned into on the second half of the book (kind of). 

The mysteries surrounding the prophecy was contagious, and it was interesting to see the Cahill's witchery being masked by tea parties, boring conversations, and blessings from the Brothers. I know some reviewers didn't like Born Wicked because it didn't provide us with a lot of magic. I found this aspect of the story fascinating. It makes us see not only the magical part of the Cahills, but the human part, as normal girls from the early 20th century. 

Now, talking about human feelings. I began to read this book months after I checked out the synopsis, so it was a dive in the dark. I'm glad I did this. It made me scream in frustration, wondering who the love interest was, or if Mrs. Spotswood was developing a love triangle, after all. At first, my heart belonged to Paul. He was the charming one, who knew Cate above all else, and wanted to love her and make her happy. And then Finn came, and ruined what I thought was a wonderful character. Compared to Finn, Paul was too sure of himself, straightforward (and not in a good way) and manipulating. 

Finn's relationship with Cate is a treat that adds lightness to the story. He genuinely cares for her, and he shows it with jokes, conversations, acceptance, protectiveness (but not overprotectiveness). It's great awesome to read about a guy like this, who tries to win a girl over with his heart, not with his body. Suffice it to say, I love Finn. 

Born Wicked is a great reading to those who love historical fiction and romance. The ending will frustrate you so much, but overall, I think the story makes it up for it. I can't wait to read the next book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles XD 



Sunday, March 4, 2012

In my mailbox #4


In my mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi, at The Story Siren, in which we share the books that we got this week.



- Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page. 





Physical Books
 
  
Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi (signed) 
Juliet Immortal, by Stacey Jay
 
 
Ebooks
 
 
Partials, by Dan Wells
Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2)
 
 
 
By a Thread, by Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin #6)
Perception, by Kim Harrington (Clarity #2)


I can't wait to read all these books, seriously! Especially By a Thread. I'm a huge fan of this series, and it took so long for this book to come out... *6 months is a big deal when you're excited for something*. I won Under the Never Sky on a contest, and I was thrilled when I got it on the mail. My first signed book ^-^ 
I admit I wasn't looking forward to reading Pandemonium, but it all went to hell the second the ebook became available on Amazon. 
What about you, what did you get this week?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg



Release date: February 21st 2012
Published by: Penguin Young Readers Group
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
- Goodreads page












Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?


My thoughts:

I bet 5000 dollars you once thought "What must be like when we die?". Every single human being has this doubt, and it can make us fearful and uncertain of what'll become of us when our hearts stop beating. Brie learned the answer to this very question sooner than she ever imagined. At sixteen, she had the perfect life, boyfriend, and best friends. When a date goes terribly wrong, her heart literally breaks in half upon hearing the words, "I don't love you".


After dying, Brie must learn to let go of her life, so that she can move on. Brie can observe everything that happens in the "normal" world, and with that, she finds out her life hadn't been so perfect after all. Secrets that surprised both Brie and me, betrayals that I wasn't expecting at all, turns Brie's after life in a living hell, and it's harder than ever to let go. How can Brie forget her life, if her heart is broken constantly by it?

Brie is told that there are five stages to go through after death:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness, and Acceptance. And so she goes through it all. And as she learns the very truth about her friends and family, Brie makes mistakes, she breaks hearts, she fixes them, and learns to move on. For me, that was the magic. Brie evolved so much as a person it felt real, just like someone would mature if something awful happened.

Patrick acts like a sort of guide for her, providing the necessary information so that she can move on as quickly as possible. At first, I didn't like him that much. It was like the author was trying to make Patrick realistic, but failed horribly. However, as the story goes on, Patrick turns out to be a completely different person. His sarcastic personality hides a secret that changed the whole concept of the book for me - and what I thought of him. In the end, Patrick won me over. His romantic relationship with Bree develops painfully slowly from the very beginning, and it's both frustrating and great to see the tension between them heating up.


However, as much as I loved Brie and Patrick, I can't help but talk about the secondary characters. The author knows how to create characters and make them feel real. With solid backgrounds and distinct personalities, Brie's family and friends pulled me into the story just as much as Brie herself. They were the ones who made me cry at Brie's funeral. I felt their pain as if they were my own relatives.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me takes young adult romances to a higher level - no pun intended at all. Dying of a broken heart is, indeed, catastrophic, but it raises one hell of an eyebrow. It's one of those plots that could either work out wonderfully, or terribly. Fortunately, it was more of the former. Jess Rothenberg managed to put family, friendship and love issues, character development and an incredible ending, all that in 400 pages. Bravo!